As briefly mentioned in my first post, I have had two kidney transplants. I took the second semester off from my first year of college to have the first one and received that kidney from my dad (thanks, dad!!). Living donor transplants are preferential to cadaveric donation because you can more carefully schedule and prepare for them and there is a better chance of the kidney working right away. I couldn't believe how much better I felt post transplant. My first semester at college I'd earned the nickname "Sleepy" due to my proclivity for frequent napping, but with the new kidney I had newfound energy.
Actual photo of my dad's kidney
My dad's kidney worked for about 5 1/2 years. I didn't reject it but rather it succumbed to my original disease, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis that I still carry. After that I went on dialysis for almost 2 years. My doctor thought there might be less chance of disease recurrence if I didn't have a transplant immediately. After a year and a half of dialysis, I went on the transplant waiting list. I couldn't believe my good fortune when the transplant nurse called me Sunday morning May 13, 2001 (you tend to remember these things), just 2 months after I'd been officially listed, to tell me they'd found a perfect match. That transplant lasted 4 1/2 years. Four years may not seem like a successful transplant, but let me tell you - four years without dialysis is priceless.
Unfortunately I am not a candidate for a third transplant as my weakened heart is too much of a risk. I can't stress enough how important organ donation is. There are currently just shy of 100,000 people on waiting lists in the U.S. You can save or improve the lives of up to 7 people if you agree to be a donor. All you have to do is to talk to your family members - the little box checked on your driver's license means NOTHING without their permission. Seriously. Make your wishes known.
Thanks for listening to my Public Service Announcement.